Just over 2 months ago I started experimenting with a 25 minute weight lifting workout. My goal was simple: CONSISTENCY! It had to be something I could do anywhere, anytime, anyhow. I had to create a workout strategy that was doable even while traveling, camping, and working up to 16 hour days. I had to remove any hurdles that tend to lead to inconsistency.
The main hurdle was time. The college days of 2 hour workouts and 350 lbs bench presses are no longer an option. In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" My workouts would have to be long enough to be effective, but short enough to be accomplished 6 days per week year-round FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE (with a periodic week off... usually scheduled around major holidays). And it had to be just the right amount of time that, psychologically speaking, my mind and my other daily responsibilities would never object.
TWENTY-FIVE minutes was the solution! If you're familiar with the Pomodoro Technique (focused uninterrupted work for 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break) then you'll appreciate this amount of time. Research has proven that 25 minutes of cardio 3x per week is effective, but could I complete an effective wt lifting workout in only 25 minutes? The answer is a resounding YES!
Over the past 15 years I had been doing (inconsistently) a fast wt lifting workout in 45 minutes... so now I had to try to carve off another 20 minutes to get it down to 25 minutes. This was a big challenge. In order to do it I had to make some big changes. I reduced almost all of my exercises from 6 sets down to 3 sets, but compensated by increasing my reps per set in order to wear the muscles down to failure (that's what creates muscle growth). In addition, I had to take minimal rest breaks between each set (about 30 seconds instead of my usual 90+ seconds) as well as use my rest breaks to set-up the weights for my next exercise. In essence, they are active rest breaks. I also would have to set a countdown timer to be intentional and stay focused. (And obviously I workout at home so no time is wasted driving or waiting for equipment.) To my overwhelmingly excited surprise the faster workout time actually increased the intensity of the workout which brings about the goal of muscle failure (which produces muscle growth). In the great words of Michael Scott, "WIN, WIN!"
So now I've created an effective 25 minute wt lifting routine 3 days per week that I'm ABSOLUTELY THRILLED about. I alternate between lower body and upper body every other day with a cardio workout in between and I take Sundays off completely. Then I pick up where I left off on Monday.
Psychologically, the 25 minutes isn't a hurdle at all. In fact, my mindset is just the opposite. I think, "Who can't workout for 25 minutes per day?!?!" Honestly, if I don't have an open 25 minutes somewhere in my day then there are much bigger problems to solve! (Oh yeah, I've been solving that one too - haha!)
I captured my entire 25 minute upper body workout in this 1 minute time lapse video. My upper body workout consists of:
- INCLINE PRESS (3-4 sets)
- CABLE CROSSOVER FLIES (3 sets)
- UPRIGHT ROWS (3 sets)
- SEATED ROWS (3 sets)
- TRICEP PUSHDOWNS (3 sets)
- CABLE / DUMBBELL CURLS (3 sets)
- 100 CRUNCHES (after every workout)
- 30 gram PROTEIN DRINK
Side Note: 15 years ago I tore my left pectoral tendon (the tendon that holds your chest muscle in place) while bench pressing 315 lbs. It has been surgically repaired. I've also separated both shoulders at different times playing sports. So I've intentionally laid off of striving after heavy weight lifting goals like I used to. My goals now revolve around overall strength and fitness.
The spiritual component in working out is multifaceted. Obviously, we are the managers of our body. God gave us one body for this life. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Many of the physical diseases and damages experienced in this country are self inflicted and a result of our own choices. God created a specific menu for our body and designed us for physical exertion. We literally grow through resistance. In a sedentary environment we need to workout in order to maintain health. In addition, wt lifting (also known as "resistance training") teaches us the value of trials and difficulties and failure, increases our mental - emotional - physical endurance which teaches us spiritual perseverance (going the distance!), teaches us self discipline with endless benefits, displays a good example and representation as a follower of Christ, prepares us to physically help others in need here and on the mission field, and countless other things.
"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." - 1 Timothy 4:8
STRiVE to THRiVE!